How to keep your July 4th celebration safe and fun

Fireworks, flag flying, parades and pool parties are all part of the tradition and fun associated with the Fourth of July. To avoid injuries, partygoers are urged to be cautious when taking part in any festivities.

The following tips will help you have a safe and enjoyable holiday:

Grilling safety

Each year there are about 9,600 home fires involving grills, hibachis or barbeques, and hospital emergency rooms treat about 8,000 people per year for burns involving grills. Improperly ventilated grills are also a common source of carbon monoxide poisoning.

  • Always inspect your fuel line, burners and igniter to make sure they are in good condition.
  • Set up your grill in an open area, away from buildings and combustible materials.
  • Make sure propane gas bottle is not overfilled.
  • Keep the grill in the shade. The sun increases the pressure in the tank, which can lead to leaks.
  • Clean the grill on a regular basis to prevent grease fires.
  • Don't wear baggy clothing.
  • Keep children away from the grill.
  • Always keep a fire extinguisher nearby.

Fireworks safety

In 2016 U.S. hospital emergency rooms treated an estimated 11,100 people for fireworks related injuries and almost half of all reported fires on July 4th were started by fireworks between 2009 and 2013.

Attend a community fireworks display instead of having your own. But if you do use fireworks:

  • Always read and follow label directions.
  • Never light fireworks without supervision.
  • Have water and a fire extinguisher nearby.
  • Light fireworks one at a time.
  • Never aim, point or throw fireworks at another person.

Drowning prevention

From 2005-2014, there were an average of 3,536 fatal unintentional drownings (non-boating related) annually in the United States. An additional 332 people died each year from drowning in boating-related incidents. Drowning is the second leading cause of death for children five through 14 years, and the leading cause of death for children 1 to 4 years.

Some safety advice:

  • Only swim in designated swimming areas.
  • Children and adults should never swim alone or without a lifeguard/observer, regardless of their swimming ability.
  • Swim with and near a buddy of equal swimming ability.
  • Don't swim in currents, waves, or water temperatures beyond your swimming abilities.
  •  Restrict children's access to swimming pools with fences, gates, and doors. It is especially important to lock sliding glass doors from the house that lead to the swimming pool.
  •  Never swim under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Intoxication is often a contributing cause to drowning.
  • Do not play breath-holding games for fun or to build lung capacity. They are dangerous and ineffective.

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